Here’s some observations from the widowed side and suggestions for friends who want to help:
Some things that helped me get through the final days. Things you can do and things you can do for your friend.
Please don’t say you don’t like talking about such things. I think we’re all with you on that one, but come on. I’m not asking you to write a thesis on the subject. I’m asking you to reach out to your friend. Acknowledge it and move on.
If you’re skilled at writing or artwork, helping with the obituary is a great kindness. Even if you can’t get something done that quickly, a memorial book or website can be much appreciated.
Do your honest best to get there. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but ceremony binds us together. Spouse, parent, sibling, friend, dog—it doesn’t matter who died, it means a lot to the bereaved if you are there. You don’t need to say anything (ok, you do need to do this) but please know it’s so comforting to see that someone cared enough to show up for a few hours.
Giving your time is a great kindness. Being the widow also means being a hostess to a certain extent, but you don’t always have the time or ability to spend emotional energy. Here are alternatives to supporting your widowed friend after the whirlwind slows down but grief hasn’t.
What to do with those days that once were reminders of joyous times, that relentlessly come around year after year and that remind you of so much you have lost.
The death makes her cry. The loss and the loneliness and the fog that’s blocking the future: that’s just some of what makes her cry. You didn’t do it. But sit down and listen to her anyway, that’s why you are friends.